International arrangements veto bill in the Senate

The government’s bill over-sighting public universities international agreements was in the Senate yesterday – where no one ever goes off on tangents

Penny Wong (Labor) certainly does not – her questions on why private universities, using Bond U as an example, are not subject to the bill undoubtedly served an important purpose.

And Foreign Minister Marise Payne was keen to make it known that the government had consulted, and then consulted some more with universities, (public ones, that is).

Senator Payne referred to meetings with higher education peak bodies, and individual institutions on September 1, 4, 7 16 (twice) 17,25 (twice) 28, and 30, on October 7 and 9 and 23 November.

However, Tim Ayres (Lab-NSW) was not impressed, taking up a point Senator Wong made, that consulting is all very well but the time to do it is when a bill is being drafted.

And he added, “I would like to say that I have heard much criticism from the individual institutions in the university sector—although I have to say that some of the criticism from their peak organisations has been muted; you don’t hear much of any substance from them.” It may look like a tangent but somebody presumably got a message.

There will be more tangents, sorry, talking, before the bill passes.